08/17/2011 3:56PM

Monmouth Park: Iselin draws eight

Hoofprints, Inc.
Alma d'Oro, with Ramon Dominguez riding, wins the Carpenter Memorial at Delaware Park.

Alma d’Oro, Pleasant Prince, and Chirac head the lineup for the Grade 3, $250,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes on Saturday at Monmouth Park.

The 1 1/8-mile race drew a field of eight for its 77th edition.

A member of trainer Todd Pletcher’s Delaware Park division, Alma d’Oro stepped up at that track to win the $100,000 Carpenter Memorial last month. It was the second win of the season for Alma d’Oro to go along with an overnight stakes at Laurel in February.

This will be first Monmouth appearance for Alma d’Oro, although not his first trip to New Jersey. He captured a first-level allowance at the Meadowlands in late 2009.

Pleasant Prince finished strongly to win a third-level allowance here on July 8 in his second start of the season for trainer Wesley Ward.

Last season at 3, Pleasant Prince won the Ohio Derby and the Oklahoma Derby and missed by a nose to Ice Box in the Florida Derby.

Pleasant Prince closed out the campaign with a ninth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Chirac won the 2009 Iselin to cap a terrific summer at Monmouth, during which he won four races for trainer Jane Cibelli. Injuries have limited him to only six starts since then, with the one win coming in an off-the-turf $50,000 claimer at Parx Racing for trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero.

Ponzi Scheme has won four races for owner John Koenig and trainer Juan Serey since being claimed for $20,000 here last summer.

Ponzi Scheme should appreciate the cut back in distance for the Iselin after tackling the 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup at Parx last month, where he dueled Chirac for the lead before finishing fourth.

The Greenwood was an experiment that did not pay off, and Serey doesn’t view it as a setback.

“Not really,” Serey said. “The owner wanted to try a mile and a half. It was okay. He gave it a good try. He came back good. He should be okay at 1 1/8 miles.”

The Saturday card also includes the $65,000 Continental Mile for 2-year-olds on the turf, where a filly, Visonaria, will take on the boys. This will be her U.S. debut for Team Valor International and trainer Graham Motion after three starts in Italy, where she had two wins and a second.

Black Rhino figures to be one of the top choices following a fourth-place finish as the pacesetter in the Grade 2 Sanford on the main track at Saratoga. Before that, Black Rhino won by eight lengths on the grass at Churchill Downs for Ward.